Pediatricians anticipate extra workload with COVID vaccine approved for children

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Now that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by both the FDA and CDC, the next step for pediatricians is informing parents about the benefits of the vaccine for their children.

“Families have questions about safety, which really is a great thing. We want families to be concerned and thoughtful with their kids,” said Dr. Nathan Boonstra, a pediatrician at Blank Children’s Hospital. “By far the safer choice is to get immunized.”

Boonstra talked about the large number of parents calling with questions about the vaccine and how it will affect their children. The vast majority of parents he spoke with were wanting to book an appointment to get their child vaccinated right away. He said some of the kids have been excited for the opportunity to get the shot.

“A lot of these kids have been waiting for this for a long time,” said Boonstra. “We know that COVID is hard on kids. It is more dangerous the older you get in the older age groups … but even with kids we are seeing far more deaths in the pediatric population than we would want to see.”

Another hurdle for doctors, other than getting the kids in the door for the shot, is dealing with the anxiety from children when they see a needle.

“We talk them through it. We tell them we give shots to little tiny babies, so we are really good at doing it. We are very kind,” said Dr. Sara Schutte-Schenck, a pediatrician with MercyOne. “We know the anxiety before is worse than actually getting it, so kids are glad that we have that little extra piece that we can help them work through it.”

UnityPoint Health is starting to immunize children this week with more and more doses coming to the state on a weekly basis.

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